The gist: Green-collar jobs”—manual-labor jobs in rapidly growing green industries—have the potential to speed progress on two deeply rooted problems at once: to reduce our society’s impact on the planet, while lifting people out of poverty. Many individuals and organizations have been leading the way. One leading proponent of green-collar jobs is Van Jones, who co-founded Rebuild the Dream, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and Green for All.

(This page provides links to organizations and publications that focus on green-collar jobs. For links to other Sightline pages on green-collar jobs, see Green-Collar Jobs: Path out of Poverty.)

What Are Green-Collar Jobs?

The term—which Sightline helped coin in 1999—is used to describe the growing number of jobs with environment-friendly products or services, ranging from green building and construction, renewable energy such as biofuels, solar panel manufacturing, weatherization, organic farming, green car manufacturing, and bicycle repair. Think of blue-collar jobs with a sustainable edge.

Green-collar jobs have the potential to be more than just new jobs, though. Some leaders believe that if the right programs are put into place, green jobs could be not only a path towards a more sustainable economy, but are also a path out of poverty for low-income communities.

As Van Jones describes, the issue could weld environmental issues to kitchen-table issues such as jobs in an unprecedented fashion. He speaks eloquently about how a united effort to train a “green-collar” workforce can bring labor, social-justice and environmental groups together once and for all.


Books on green-collar jobs

Networking sites with information about green jobs and green businesses

Organizations with purposes related to green-collar jobs

Reports and/or curricula on green-collar jobs

Sightline blog posts and blog series

March 17, 2010